Exclusive Interview with Dr. Friedrich Nitschke, BMW M CEO

GGS2297 750x500 Exclusive Interview with Dr. Friedrich Nitschke, BMW M CEO

Back in March, BMWBLOG attended the annual M Sales Awards event which took place this year in the sunny Miami, Florida. Hosting nearly 100 people …

Back in March, BMWBLOG attended the annual M Sales Awards event which took place this year in the sunny Miami, Florida. Hosting nearly 100 people from 23 continents, were the BMW M CEO, Dr. Friedrich Nitschke, and Brian Watts, Head of M Global Sales and Marketing.

This was a great opportunity for us to sit down with the M boss and find out more about the new M Performance Automobiles line, future of M, supercars and other interesting things happening at M.

BMWBLOG: Please describe for us the M Performance Automobiles and why has BMW M decided to introduce this new line?

Dr. Nitschke: It was a decision made many months ago. For us to build an M car with a diesel engine wasn’t the right way because we don’t have the right technology to bring such an engine in a BMW M. With the new M Performance Automobiles, this new 3.0 liter turbocharged diesel engine gave us the opportunity to bring it in an M Performance automobile because this is a small engine and not an eight-cylinder engine that our competitors have in this class.

It’s a very light engine, powerful, has more than 380 horsepower and more than 740Nm of torque. We thought this engine is now good for M and for the new lineup that we have just launched.

GGS2217 655x436 Exclusive Interview with Dr. Friedrich Nitschke, BMW M CEO

BMWBLOG: What’s the difference between the M135i and 1M Coupe?

Dr. Nitschke: The M135i will be launched in the summer of 2012 and it’s a car not made for the race track but rather a car that you can also buy with all-wheel-drive. This is a special M Performance car, very sporty and fast, made for everyday driving. The 1M Coupe is oriented towards the race track and it’s made in the typical M, like the M3 or M5, and as you know, it’s not available with the all-wheel-drive. In a nutshell, it’s your typical M car.

BMWBLOG: Will we see other variants of the M135i?

Dr. Nitschke: Let’s see, nothing to communicate at this time. (Editor Note: The response was accompanied by a large smile)

BMW M135i 81 655x469 Exclusive Interview with Dr. Friedrich Nitschke, BMW M CEO

BMWBLOG: Are there M Performance Automobiles that you would like to see being sold in the US?

Dr. Nitschke: The problem at the moment is that we started with diesel engines and as you know, they are not very popular with the American consumers. We will also bring a petrol engine and just like the M135i is made specifically for the U.S. In the near future, perhaps we will have the technology and market adoption to bring the diesel engine worldwide and implicitly to the United States.

BMWBLOG: Will M cars become even more track focused now that you have launched the M Performance Automobiles line?

Dr. Nitschke: That is our intention. The core M cars, like M3, M5 or M6, are specifically made for the race track where you can drive fast, the MPA (M Performance Automobiles) are for customers that want more powerful cars and more comfort orientated that what you can find in the normal BMW lineup.

BMWBLOG: M Performance Automobiles vs. a BMW with Performance Parts: Why would a customer choose one over the other one?

Dr. Nitschke: For us, M parts, like wheels, steering wheel, carbon fiber parts, are high selling items to customers that want to have a car with an M feeling and look. There are additional parts that enhance the sportiness as well. The M Performance Automobiles are cars made from BMW M, but these are well defined cars and a complete package, from suspension to engine.

BMWBLOG:How does BMW use R&D and road testing to have ample cooling? We have heard reports of “limp mode” occurrences with the 1M for example.

Our special track is at Nurburgring and to our engineers is very important how fast is this car going over the 21 km of track. And if the car doesn’t have the perfect parts in it, you can’t drive very fast. This is our proof that we test the M cars to the maximum.

BMWBLOG: Will the next M3 be offered with a manual transmission?

Dr. Nitschke: At the moment, the DCT is a perfect fitting for such a car but we have a lot of customers in the U.S. that want a manual, and this is why we offer the new M5 with manual also. Same as the new M6.

BMWBLOG: The million dollar question: What’s an M supercar in your opinion?

Dr. Nitschke: In the special class of four-door sedans, the M5 is without a doubt a supercar. Same applies to the M6 Coupe and Convertible in their respective segments. But to have a supercar for the high-end market, it has to be different. At this level you have cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and the new McLaren. If BMW would bring a car in this category, it must be the best.

BMWBLOG: What are some of the things that M does to keep a lower weight of future cars?

Dr. Nitschke: This is one of the most important things for us: reducing weight. In the new M5 and M6, we reduced the weight quite a bit, but dramatically weight savings will be seen in the new M3. We are using not only parts made out of aluminum, but we are also at the the front of our industry to use carbon fiber across many models. We will bring additional parts made out of carbon fiber.

BMWBLOG: What is the fastest growing market for M?

Dr. Nitschke: China is the fourth in the world and the fastest growing. U.S. is still leading, followed by Germany and United Kingdom. It’s an interesting market that teaches us a lot about the diversification of Chinese customers.

BMWBLOG: What is your favorite M car?

Dr. Nitschke: I currently drive an M5, but for the past few months I’ve been driving the new M6 Coupe. These cars fit my lifestyle perfectly. But if I were to choose one then….the classic M1.

BMWBLOG: Tell us more about the M Sales Award we’re attending here in Miami.

Dr. Nitschke: I think it’s very important for us to bring together M-oriented client advisors from around the world to exchange opinions, ideas and also share information. The top performers from their respective countries are selected and brought together at this annual event.

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  • Palle

    I think BMW will launch a supercar like the old M1. Dr. Nitsche said, that a supercar from BMW must be the best in the world. In my view they are developing a supercar right right now…. I´m hoping

    • E24

       Yeah, I’m also tired of waiting, BMW needs a true supercar indeed, that would be a beast.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ID4X4IJCBHZ6YGYHHX22RFT3JQ Rolitto

    My dream is to see BMW introduce a new supercar, like Ferrari or Lamborghini. Please BMW!

  • David

     I agree with Palle. Dr. Nitsche also said that they have resources and perspective to build a supercar, but they don’t have the most important – “go”. I think BMW should do this, because they really can build real supercar as M1, Nazca Prototype and M8 concept shown. I hope they do that…

  • Mikel

    Great interview Horatiu!!! Made my Monday morning. Did he say anything else that you can’t publish?

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      You know, the usual smiles and smirks when I would ask a question. I think the M3 will be quite revolutionary and a great performance car. I was pretty much told BMW won’t drop the ball on that one.

  • John54

    So they aren’t bringing the 1 series M coupe back? just the M135i?

    • Palle

       They will bring the 1M back!!! but not as a 1 series, the new will be an M2!!!!

      • John54

        I heard the rumors of the 2 series coming out the end of next year? Hopefully the rumors are true.  Time to save money 

        • Palle

           I my opinion the new 2 series will come out end of this or at the beginning of next year… we will see

        • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

          More likely a year after 3er F30. So spring summer next year.

      • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

        Yup. No one doubts that. It’s a great segment to be in and an M2 makes all the sense in the world.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      2 different cars as he explained in the interview

  • FreudeKing

    How ironic, M1, yet BMW has nothing like that at the moment… Why? well, the dr. said it himself, if BMW was to launch a car like that it has to be the best and the fact that it has not done so yet means that they do not have what it takes to be the best. In the mean time, he is telling his customers to buy R8’s. What a pathetic company!

  • FreudeKing

    Also to add to my comment, BMW always screws stuff up! The potential of the 1 Series coupe is now messed up with that ugly hatch. The potentially good looking i8 is messed up with those bicycle tyres. I mean, who in this world would want a super car body with biscuit tyres that look like they were put on temporarily when your other wheels got punctured! PATHETIC. I have lost patience with BMW and I am NOT IMPRESSED!

    • empower

      ITS NOT A SUPER CAR. IT WILL BE A USEFUL  TEST BED FOR THERE FUTURE SUPERCAR. BMW HAVE ENOUGH KNOW HOW TO BUILD WHAT EVER THEY CHOSE. BMW AG IS GROWING ROLLS ROYCE AND MINI FROM  NOTHING PLUS STARTING THE I BRAND, ONCE THE I BRAND IS UP AND RUNNING, BMW AG CAN THEN CONCENTRATE ON M, AND MAKE USE OF THE CARBON FIBRE PLANT AND THE BEST ENGINES IN THE WORLD PLUS THE BEST DRIVING AIDS IN THE WORLD. BMW IS A COMPANY IT NEEDS TO MAKE A PROFIT ON THINGS IT MAKES. NOW THE LUXURY GLOBAL MARKET HAS GROWN AND BMW CAN GET CHEAPISH CARBON FIBRE AND BMW HAS NEARLY RAN OUT OF CARS IT CAN M. BMW M WILL HAVE THERE OWN CHASSIS TO PLAY WITH

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